【Tachiaigawa- The Impact of Commodore Perry’s Black Ships-】
Tachiaigawa station is a station in Shinagawa, Tokyo, served by the Keikyu Main Line. (The Keikyu Main Line connects the Tokyo wards of Minato, Shinagawa, Ota, and the Kanagawa municipalities of Kawasaki, Yokohama and Yokosuka, and recently it has come to be known as a line that runs directly from Shinagawa station to Haneda airport.)
Arriving at Tachiaigawa station, you will find a statue of “Ryoma Sakamoto” (1836-1867) in his youth. Ryoma Sakamoto is one of the most popular samurai, and a great hero in Japan. He was born in low social standing, however worked his way up to eventually shake the foundation of the country, and peacefully encouraged the modernization of Japan.
In his youth, during his swordsmanship training in Edo (the old name for Tokyo), Black Ships led by Commodore Perry arrived from the United States in 1853. He was then called to work as security for the area that is now Tachiaigawa. Ryoma was shocked to see the Black Ships with his own eyes, and strongly felt the stark difference in culture between isolated Japan and other countries. From that day he led many young people throughout Japan to drive changes in the feudal government. One of his points of origin and driving power can be found here in Tachiaigawa.
An artillery battery which was established after the Black Ships arrived, “Hamagawa-hodai (artillery battery)”, has been recreated in Shin-Hamagawa Park. It has been said that Ryoma Sakamoto used to walk from what is now Tachiaigawa shopping street to this battery, every day.
Tachiaigawa station belongs to an area called “Shinagawa-Katsushima”, which is becoming popular recently as a new residential area. To live in the city where you can feel the footsteps of Ryoma Sakamoto, is a true honour.